Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Introduction


There were a few reasons why I decided to buy an inflatable kayak. The main one was portability. Neither me nor my wife wanted to drive hundreds kilometers having boat on the roof of our car. In the second place was my white water experience with big inflatable boats and rafts. I was comfortable with anything inflatable and even like them for their safety and flexibility. Thus I was looking for something intermediate (not the 10-person raft) and as universal as possible to use it both on the flat water (thousands of Ontario lakes including Georgian Bay) and on the moderate white water (hundreds of Ontario rivers).

Comparison to folding kayaks

Of course I knew that people (especially back in Russia) use widely folding kayaks, but their prices are well above my budget.

For example one of the best choices would be Russian foldable kayak (baidarka) Varzuga, which costs about $1200 CND + shipping from Russia ().

Varzuga, 26 kg, 4.8x0.81x0.4, 2 person, 250 kg, $1,200 CND


Canadian folding kayaks are even more expensive - $3,000 to $7,000 CND
Feathercraft K-2 Expedition,39 kg, 6.0x0.84, 2 person, 320 kg, $6,750 CND



Inflatable kayaks


Among inflatable one could easily find good stuff at around $1,000 CND.
One of the best choices would be 420 X Explorer: 24 kg, 427x0.94x0.29 (tube diameter), 2-3 person, 388 kg, ~$1,000 CND:

It looks like a good choice for white water rafting, but I was not sure that it will be as good on the flat water.





Airkayak.com sells another kind of  self-bailing white-water inflatable kayak manufactured by Advanced Elements - StraitEdge2 ($699 US).






But then I sow an Advanced Frame Convertible from Advanced Elements and fell in love forever.
This is why the following posts will be fully devoted to this kayak.




To finish this Comparison Chapter I summarized the main characteristics of these kayaks in the Table 1.

From this table one can immediately draw a conclusion I made: AFC is the best!


Name
Weight, kg
Length*Width
*Height, m
persons
Load
Price, $ US
Note
Feathercraft K-2
39
6.0*0.84*N/A
2
320
6,000+

Varzuga
26
4.8*0.81*0.40
2
250
1,000+

420x Explorer
24
4.27*0.94*0.29
2-3
388
900+

AF Convertible
25
4.5*0.8*N/A
2
294
599


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